244 results for “Information Decoration”

This artwork lets trees tell the story of climate change

Linda Valenta
December 18th 2018

In our ongoing battle against climate change, it's hard to transcend from our human position and ‘think’ like nature. Given, nature doesn't think the way humans do, but it does act upon the environmental changes that occur. Dutch artist Thijs Biersteker anticipated on this behaviour and enables trees themselves, to tell the pressing issue of climate change - narrated in a way for humans to understand.…

Period emoji could smash the stigma surrounding menstruation

Cara Curtis
October 24th 2018

Astonishingly, we’re still living in a world where most women feel uncomfortable talking about their periods and some don’t even have access to sanitary products. This is why girls-focused development charity Plan International UK and Plan Australia launched a campaign to create a period emoji, in an attempt to reduce the taboo surrounding period and menstrual health.…

‘Listen’ to your genetic heritage: Curate a playlist based on your DNA

Ruben Baart
September 27th 2018

Genealogy services have exploded over the past few years, and Spotify is capitalizing on the boom by providing curated playlist based on users’ DNA. Here's what you should know.

If you could listen to your DNA, what would it sound like?…

The Dictionary of Online Behavior adds a virtual layer to your vocabulary

Ruben Baart
June 21st 2018

To some extent, it's a chicken-and-egg question: Are you unable to think about things you don't have words for, or do you lack words for them because you don't think about them? For digital natives, the online realms may become more familiar than aspects of the ‘real’ world - and that's where the Dictionary of Online Behavior comes in; a growing library for the avid social media user that you need to know to get by.…

AR City: Paving the Way for Augmented Reality Navigation

Belen Munoz
January 17th 2018
Augmented reality applications are a promising alternative to GPS. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be.

Drones Protect Indonesia from Volcanic Danger

Jack Caulfield
January 11th 2018
In Bali, volcanic danger looms large. Scientists are trying to use drones to forestall the danger and make the invisible workings of the volcano visible.

How Much Carbon Do Your Clicks Cost?

Jack Caulfield
December 8th 2017
How much carbon does a Youtube video burn? Greenpeace's #ClickClean initiative calls on big tech companies, like Google, to use renewable energy sources.

The Future of Firefighting

Siebren de Vos
October 26th 2017
Firefighters can see through smoke with new thermal mask.

Helix, the App Store for Your Genome

Charlotte Kuijpers
October 6th 2017
Startup Helix launched an online hub where you can digitally explore your genetic code by downloading different apps on your computer or smartphone.

The Internet of Bees

Jack Caulfield
October 3rd 2017
What can we learn from listening to the buzz of bees' conversation? With the help of a new monitoring system, a Canadian researcher is hoping to find out.
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In our ongoing battle against climate change, it's hard to transcend from our human position and ‘think’ like nature. Given, nature doesn't think the way humans do, but it does act upon the environmental changes that occur. Dutch artist Thijs Biersteker anticipated on this behaviour and enables trees themselves, to tell the pressing issue of climate change - narrated in a way for humans to understand.

Real-time ring layers

So here's the thing: a tree’s ring layers does not only tell us something about the age of a tree; they also express the climate during that period of time. For instance, researchers can identify an increased amount of air pollution in a tree’s ring layer. However, once the time arrives in which we're able to identify this effect on trees, it might already be too late for us to act upon the tree’s warning signs.

Therefore Biersteker launched the project Voice of Nature to make this possible: changes in the tree’s environment are in real-time converted to digital data and subsequently visualised, using sensors that are attached to the tree. Visitors of the artwork can see when the tree is affected by a change in light spectrum, soil, temperature, moist levels, air quality and co2 levels.

The result is a giant screening behind a tree, depicting the creation of ring layers as the tree’s climate changes. Part of this climate is the visitor itself. When a human touches the tree, the visuals show that the tree calms down. The underlying message is that humans are more than just polluting agents; they can also be the healing energy.

The next narrative of nature

As Thijs Biersteker mentions, nowadays we trust data more than we trust our eyes. A collaboration between data and the arts makes it possible for us to see the data indicating issues of climate change.

Moreover, this artwork shows how we can cultivate a collaboration between art and technology to create new narratives that stem from nature itself.

The initiators of the project emphasise the need for such narratives in light of the Climate Change Conference in COP24 and the latest climate change report released by the Trump administration. In these narratives, discussions about monetary assets prevail over the intrinsic value of nature.

Sure, even though we cannot really think like a tree, this project brings us closer to its story and the grand narrative of a changing climate. By making smart use of technology and its combining to the arts as a way to make the voice of the tree audible or visible, the project shows in an ingenious way, how we in our next nature are able to enact new narratives when it comes to climate change.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project.

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Astonishingly, we’re still living in a world where most women feel uncomfortable talking about their periods and some don’t even have access to sanitary products. This is why girls-focused development charity Plan International UK and Plan Australia launched a campaign to create a period emoji, in an attempt to reduce the taboo surrounding period and menstrual health.

It is well-engrained into society that girls are severely marginalized compared to boys. The moment a girl starts her first period, the gender gap between sexes becomes even more pronounced. An emoji may seem like a small change that could go unnoticed, but representation in emoji form is important as we’ve seen for red haired people, the transgender community, and many more.

Not only have we seen it in other cases, but there’s actual data that it would help girls to talk about periods. Plan International UK’s research found that half of British women aged 18-34 surveyed said a period emoji would make it easier for them to talk about their periods with friends and partners.

An emoji would encourage a conversation about menstruating and that’s the first progressive step to changing people’s views. This could mean no more lying about crippling period cramps or secretly smuggling a tampon up your sleeve on the way to the toilet at work.

“Menstruation taboo is a huge problem for girls worldwide. Girls are missing school and face bullying and unfair treatment,” Susanne Legena, CEO at Plan Australia told TNW.

Other than the fun of having another emoji to exchange with friends, this campaign is centered around raising awareness and money to support young women around the world who don’t have access to menstrual products. Plan International’s research abroad revealed that 90 percent of girls in rural areas of Ghana feel ashamed during their period and in Uganda, 28 percent of girls don’t go to school when they have their period.

What would a period emoji look like?

If you’ve ever tried to subtly tell someone via emoji that you’re on your period, you’ve probably used the erupting volcano ?, the red heart ❤️, the red rose ?, or the sassy flamenco dancer ? — none of which really do the trick.

Plan UK wanted to move away from subtle so they went for a more realistic representation of what a period looks like in emoji form with their five designs including a sanitary towel, a diagram of a uterus, a pair of period pants, a calendar, and blood droplets. They left it down to the public to decide which emoji they should pitch to the Unicode Consortium (the official body that manages emoji worldwide) for this year’s emoji update.

The five emoji designs created by Plan International UK

The pair of period pants emoji (top right) raked in 18,700 votes but was sadly (and not really surprisingly) rejected by the almighty Unicode Consortium. If it were up to me, I’d want to see the pad on our emoji keyboards but I don’t think the world is ready for the reality of a period just yet.

Plan UK haven’t given up and they resubmitted a more PG version of a period emoji in February — a simple blood droplet.

View image on Twitter

“Every month, hundreds of millions of women and girls around the world menstruate,” Legena told TNW. “The average woman menstruates for 3,000 days during her lifetime. It’s a normal biological process, but there is still this strange belief, even here in Australia, that menstruation is still not discussed openly. We suffer our periods in silence and hide our tampons and pads away as if they were contraband.”

“Even though at least 800 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating right now, there isn’t a single emoji to represent periods. Isn’t it ridiculous that there’s five variations of a mailbox, a floppy disc emoji and a fax emoji, but no period emoji?” Legena explained.

Changing menstruation perceptions won’t be solved over night, but creating a period emoji that would encourage more people to talk about menstruation could.

Keep up to date with Plan UK’s journey on Twitter by searching #periodemoji.

This story is published in partnership with The Next Web. Read the original piece here.

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Genealogy services have exploded over the past few years, and Spotify is capitalizing on the boom by providing curated playlist based on users’ DNA. Here's what you should know.

If you could listen to your DNA, what would it sound like?

This weekend Spotify announced it has partnered with the world’s largest for-profit genealogy company, AncestryDNA, to launch a new feature which curates your own personal playlist based on your DNA. These genetically-curated playlists will link your Spotify account to your DNA test results, combining the music streaming platform’s personalized recommendations with 'top tracks' based on your genetic heritage.

All you have to do is to sign up for the genealogy platform, send in your saliva sample, and the DNA dealer will input the data into Spotify’s musical generator, which will simply select the playlist with historic music from the countries that feature in your DNA results.

That’s right, thanks to the modern miracle of corporate synergy, you can let your $99 AncestryDNA info dictate a custom clutch of tunes for your next road trip. But what's really at stake here?

The lucrative rise of DNA testing

For centuries, genealogists have relied on oral and written records to trace their family trees. But around the turn of the millennium, the age of DIY genetics testing took off and a growth industry was born. Today industry estimates suggest that roughly 1 in 25 adult Americans have access to their genetic data.

Sure, on the one hand this provided genealogists and family historians with an opportunity to use well-established scientific methods to prove relationships and ancestry, but on the other hand, it created a marketplace.

Make no mistake, this market is expected to be worth £261m by 2022 and is being applied to a broad spectrum of sectors including ancestry, health, beauty, and dating. Some firms in America even provide DNA testing for pets, so dog owners can pinpoint the exact breed makeup of their four-legged friend.

It’s a market largely dominated by large firms, such as AncestryDNA, which last year announced they’d reached four million users on their database, and 23andMe, backed by Facebook billionaire Yuri Milner and Google Ventures. But what about the security implications…

Is DNA the new data?

The public’s fascination with ancestry has led to a boom in businesses specialising in DNA, but it requires the transfer of sensitive information: your genetic data.

The rise of consumer genetics tests has brought up a number of privacy concerns, since they deal with information that’s fundamental and unique to every individual. It poses the question: When you spit into a tube and submit your sample, who has access to that information - and who ultimately owns your DNA?

Therefore it’s important to get a clear picture of who owns that information and who will be able to see it. I mean, we are good at clicking ‘agree’ and not reading the terms of service, right? From there, it’s a matter of how far such terms go.

Then there’s also the question of what it truly means to trust a tech company like Spotify to recommend songs based on your genetic origins, or how DNA could get shared with other companies without your consent.

The fact is, we don’t know how our genetic sequence will be used in the years to come, who will be able to access it, and on what terms. Who knows, in the near future, DNA may be the hottest new currency around.

So for now, you may consider holding off on sharing yours.

[post_title] => 'Listen' to your genetic heritage: Curate a playlist based on your DNA [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => spotify-playlist-dna [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-10 17:41:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-10 16:41:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91224 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 82061 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2018-06-21 19:34:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-21 18:34:56 [post_content] => To some extent, it's a chicken-and-egg question: Are you unable to think about things you don't have words for, or do you lack words for them because you don't think about them? For digital natives, the online realms may become more familiar than aspects of the ‘real’ world - and that's where the Dictionary of Online Behavior comes in; a growing library for the avid social media user that you need to know to get by.The Dictionary "offers new tools to reflect upon online reality," says TeYosh, the artist duo behind the project. "At this point, we still know the dual meaning of a friend and differentiate online friends from the ones we shook hands with," they explain."The ephemeral words in the DoOB describe a moment in history when the online relationships are still not a norm." But then again, you could ask yourself; how often do you read a message without opening it? Or, how do you even determine whether you're going out with that Tinder match before looking up their Instagram account?All too painful, yet all too real, The DoOB reflects upon the reality in which we are all living in right now, "[it's] a view from the perspective of the last generation that had a chance to grow up in the offline world and got the know the online world as something new, something other."Introducing a world's first on Nextnature.net: A visual interview - because sometimes, a picture says so much more than words.

How does the dictionary of online behavior relate to traditional dictionaries?

What's the response been like?

Have you seen people taking new approaches to deal with language ever since you launched the website?

Do you have a recent favorite piece of technology, virtual or physical, that helps achieve the language you're promoting?

What do you make of the lingual rituals we perform today? (LOL, ICYMI, WTF - and other acronyms)

Does our intuitive understanding of new language rely on analogies to old ones?

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of written language?

Will good writing become a niche specialty? And does this standardization of simple ‘language’ have a role in representing our actual society and reality?

What’s your favorite thing to do on the Internet?

What kind of gadgets do you use?

How would you describe the way that you think about the Internet?

What's wrong with the way we think or talk about the Internet? (if applicable)

What do you want from social media?

Finish the sentence: The Internet needs new

_____________________The Dictionary of Online Behavior is a project by NNN members TeYosh. Over the next few weeks, we will weekly publish a new word that describes behavior that has emerged on social networks and has changed our way of communication. Do you want to take part in the visual interview series? Join NNN and let us know! [post_title] => The Dictionary of Online Behavior adds a virtual layer to your vocabulary [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => dictionary-of-online-behavior [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-29 10:57:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-29 09:57:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=82061 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79512 [post_author] => 1511 [post_date] => 2018-01-17 09:55:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-17 08:55:49 [post_content] => Over the last decade, devices with Global Positioning System, commonly abbreviated as GPS, have proved to be powerful tools in assisting users navigate through city streets. Admittedly, they are not always as accurate as one would desire. In fact, they often spark off discussions as to who was right or wrong in interpreting the indication saying “turn left after 100 meters”. Whoever has been down that road before will find in augmented reality applications a promising alternative for achieving a more accurate and successful navigation. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be.Tech company Blippar aims to transform the way we travel across our cities. They plan to achieve this by merging AR with a specific branch of artificial intelligence known as “computer vision”. It has been only a couple of months since Blippar announced the launch of their new AR City app (currently in Beta), which gives users access to an enhanced map. The app overlays digital content, such as names of streets or points of interest onto the physical world captured by smartphone lenses. In short, it allows the camera to recognize and “see” the world as the human eye does, while providing information about the captured object.GPS devices have long been challenged by the level of accuracy in determining the position and the direction of the user. Getting lost due to these imprecisions stops being a problem as soon as users immerse themselves in the 3D navigation system displayed on their smartphones.As Ambarish Mitra, CEO of Blippar, explains: “The technology seamlessly combines the digital with the physical, and is a significant step in our mission to create AR natural enough that users don’t feel any disconnect”.This technology is still in an early stage, but it has a foreseeable potential to drastically change the current way we perceive, engage with, and explore our environment. This is especially the case if one considers applying AR and computer vision to eye-wearable devices. These could end up being the more practical solution, since they would not confine our newly enhanced vision to the tiny screens of our phones.Sources: BlipparBBC [post_title] => AR City: Paving the Way for Augmented Reality Navigation [post_excerpt] => Augmented reality applications are a promising alternative to GPS. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ar-city-augmented-reality-navigation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-17 10:02:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-17 09:02:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79512/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79857 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2018-01-11 10:19:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-11 09:19:36 [post_content] => In this Anthropocene era we often think of ourselves as controlling the natural world. But natural disasters, like volcanic eruptions, remind us that our planet can still be dangerously unpredictable. In the Indonesian province of Bali, this danger looms large. But now, scientists are using drones to forestall the danger and make the invisible workings of the volcano visible.

Warning signs: reading the land to predict the future

Mount Agung, the highest point on Bali and a currently active volcano, poses a huge potential danger to the island's inhabitants. But although major seismic activity is underway, volcanoes are unpredictable, and it's always difficult to tell what will happen next.This is where drone company AeroTerrascan came in. Their high-flying drones have been helping in several different ways. Firstly, the drones were sent up to thoroughly scan the volcano from all angles. The data gathered, tracking Agung's shape and size to 20 cm of accuracy, was used to create a detailed 3D map. It's important to have this kind of map because growth in the size of a volcano is a clear indicator of danger. Now scientists can assess future danger by comparing the volcano current size against the map.For their second mission, a brave little drone was sent to fly right over the volcano. This drone was fitted with sensors to detect carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. High levels of these gases indicate an imminent eruption. In this case, unfortunately, the data gathered was bad news, and the government raised Agung's warning level even higher.Which brings us to the drones next proposed task: scanning Agung's surroundings not for geological data, but for people. When evacuation is necessary, it can be difficult to tell if everyone has gotten the message and escaped. When the time comes, these drones could patrol for anyone who might have been left behind.

Beneath the surface: a deeper understanding of invisible processes

These tasks aren't risk-free. Several drones have been lost navigating the 3000 km vertical climb to Agung's peak. Yet if it can save lives, the risk is clearly worth it. And besides this immediate benefit, using drones in this way is part of something bigger. New technologies are allowing us to make typically inscrutable, chaotic elements of nature, phenomena we have lived with for millennia, more comprehensible.Many people fear that technology disconnects us from nature. But in cases like this, at least, it's clear that the opposite is true. We are learning to read the obscure geological signals being sent out by the most violent and unpredictable parts of our world. And doing so not only provides practical benefits, but in the long-run gives us a deeper understanding of our environment.Perhaps it's another example of "making the invisible visible". If what once seemed like the whims of wrathful nature becomes ever more understandable to us, how does our relationship with the planet change? Technological applications like this could be the key to allowing us to treat the Earth like an old familiar friend, rather than a dangerous enemy.Source: Treehugger [post_title] => Drones Protect Indonesia from Volcanic Danger [post_excerpt] => In Bali, volcanic danger looms large. Scientists are trying to use drones to forestall the danger and make the invisible workings of the volcano visible. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => drones-protect-indonesia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-11 10:31:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-11 09:31:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79857/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78916 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2017-12-08 10:00:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-12-08 09:00:52 [post_content] => How much does a like cost? How about a retweet, or a single play of a song on Spotify? How much carbon does a YouTube video burn? Greenpeace's #ClickClean initiative, which has been going since 2010, calls on big tech companies like Facebook and Google to use renewable energy sources.The 2017 report on which companies are making most positive impact is out now, and Greenpeace is targeting Netflix's energy usage with a new petition. On their site they give each company a grade according to a variety of factors, from advocacy to the proportion of their energy usage that comes from clean sources. While Facebook and Google are doing well, both Twitter and SoundCloud scored an F. Visit the site to help make the Internet green! [post_title] => How Much Carbon Do Your Clicks Cost? [post_excerpt] => How much carbon does a Youtube video burn? Greenpeace's #ClickClean initiative calls on big tech companies, like Google, to use renewable energy sources. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => carbon-clicks-cost [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-12-04 11:05:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-12-04 10:05:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78916/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77452 [post_author] => 1431 [post_date] => 2017-10-26 10:00:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-26 08:00:20 [post_content] => We have been taking advantage of fire for more than 100.000 years, it has been helping us in so many different ways. But the benefits of this power come with a cost. There is evidence of fire-fighting machinery in use already in Ancient Egypt, since that time we invented numerous tools for fire prevention and control. This high tech firefighting helmet is one of those tools.The helmet, designed by American company Scott Safety, has an embedded thermal imaging camera that allows firefighters to see through thick smoke without putting the hose down. This function gives them a big advantage in critical situations.Recently, Scott Safety also released an app connected to the helmet. Firefighters can use it to personalize their way of seeing the world through the camera, adjusting brightness, layout and temperature display. Can you imagine your life being saved by one of these high tech heroes?Source: Emergency Service Times______________________________This article is part of the "HUBOT weeks" to contextualize our latest project HUBOT, the job agency for people and robots. Want to learn more about this project? Join NNN and we will keep you posted! [mc4wp_form id="72385"] [post_title] => The Future of Firefighting [post_excerpt] => Firefighters can see through smoke with new thermal mask. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => firefighting-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-26 09:45:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-26 07:45:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77452/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77595 [post_author] => 1433 [post_date] => 2017-10-06 10:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-06 08:00:09 [post_content] => What would you like to learn from your DNA? Which sleep pattern fits you best? Or what traits did you inherit from a Neanderthal? Thanks to a new "app store for your genome" called Helix you can digitally explore your genetic code by downloading different applications on your computer or smartphone.Helix is not just another DNA reading service. Unlike 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Helix offers a variety of applications, made by third party companies. “Sequence once. Discover again and again”. In other words: the user spits in a tube just one time. The genetic information can be used in multiple extensions, similar to a DNA App Store, or in-app purchases.This online hub provides a variety of themes. You can take an Inherited Cholesterol Test, but also order a personalized scarf with a representation of your DNA. The serious genetic screening to find out whether you're carrying a certain disease might not look so trustworthy when offered in the same web shop as “Wine Explorer, discover uniquely tailored wine recommendations!”.The accuracy of the products offered by Helix remains unclear. But the concept does make us stop and question the seriousness of DNA and genetic data. Because if your genetic information falls into the wrong hands, consequences may not be as fun as receiving your unique DNA scarf.Source: MIT Technology Review. Image: Helix DNA Scarf [post_title] => Helix, the App Store for Your Genome [post_excerpt] => Startup Helix launched an online hub where you can digitally explore your genetic code by downloading different apps on your computer or smartphone. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => helix-genome-app-store [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-30 11:03:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-30 09:03:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77595/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77565 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2017-10-03 18:00:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-03 16:00:28 [post_content] => Do you ever wonder what bees talk about amongst themselves? A beehive is a very busy home, and gossip must spread fast. But what kind of information can we take from that buzz of conversation? With the help of a new monitoring system, a Canadian researcher is hoping to find out.

Colony Collapse

Bees are always in the news these days. These hardworking pollinators are vital to the ecosystem, yet increasingly under threat. One such threat, colony collapse disorder - when worker bees abandon a hive en masse for seemingly no reason - presents a major puzzle for ecologists today. Though many possible causes are being considered, the true cause is still a mystery.Oldooz Pooyanfar, a graduate student at Simon Fraser University, is hoping to help find some answers. Ingenious solutions have been proposed to replace bees as their numbers decline. Pooyanfar, instead, aims to solve the mystery before it’s too late; by asking the bees themselves what’s wrong.

What Do Bees Talk About?

Pooyanfar’s system, which is still being tested and developed, is intended to monitor hives for “bee talk”. Not literal speech, of course, but measurements from sensors designed to calculate sound, temperature, humidity, and even acceleration. Through their behaviors, bees may communicate - to one another and hopefully to the sensors - what exactly is happening in the hive. With this kind of data, Pooyanfar hopes to learn more about the colony collapses, which are currently so inexplicable, and potentially prevent future problems.Since Pooyanfar is working with an assortment of stock parts, the project’s technology is clunky and not particularly cost-efficient so far. But it is hoped that in coordination with local beekeepers a custom-designed version of the technology could cut costs significantly. Ultimately, the intention is to create a large number of these devices and have the data monitored by a neural network trained to watch for problems. Such a hive(s) mind could be immensely helpful for beekeepers, who sometimes tend to thousands of hives and cannot hope to monitor them all constantly.Might the mystery of colony collapse disorder finally be solved simply by finding out what the bees have been buzzing about all along? And what other applications might this technology have? Once we can listen in on bee talk, what might be the logical next step? Twitter for birds?Source: TechCrunch. Image: Network Ireland [post_title] => The Internet of Bees [post_excerpt] => What can we learn from listening to the buzz of bees' conversation? With the help of a new monitoring system, a Canadian researcher is hoping to find out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => internet-of-bees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-11 10:33:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-11 08:33:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77565/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 101742 [post_author] => 1860 [post_date] => 2018-12-18 09:14:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-18 08:14:50 [post_content] =>

In our ongoing battle against climate change, it's hard to transcend from our human position and ‘think’ like nature. Given, nature doesn't think the way humans do, but it does act upon the environmental changes that occur. Dutch artist Thijs Biersteker anticipated on this behaviour and enables trees themselves, to tell the pressing issue of climate change - narrated in a way for humans to understand.

Real-time ring layers

So here's the thing: a tree’s ring layers does not only tell us something about the age of a tree; they also express the climate during that period of time. For instance, researchers can identify an increased amount of air pollution in a tree’s ring layer. However, once the time arrives in which we're able to identify this effect on trees, it might already be too late for us to act upon the tree’s warning signs.

Therefore Biersteker launched the project Voice of Nature to make this possible: changes in the tree’s environment are in real-time converted to digital data and subsequently visualised, using sensors that are attached to the tree. Visitors of the artwork can see when the tree is affected by a change in light spectrum, soil, temperature, moist levels, air quality and co2 levels.

The result is a giant screening behind a tree, depicting the creation of ring layers as the tree’s climate changes. Part of this climate is the visitor itself. When a human touches the tree, the visuals show that the tree calms down. The underlying message is that humans are more than just polluting agents; they can also be the healing energy.

The next narrative of nature

As Thijs Biersteker mentions, nowadays we trust data more than we trust our eyes. A collaboration between data and the arts makes it possible for us to see the data indicating issues of climate change.

Moreover, this artwork shows how we can cultivate a collaboration between art and technology to create new narratives that stem from nature itself.

The initiators of the project emphasise the need for such narratives in light of the Climate Change Conference in COP24 and the latest climate change report released by the Trump administration. In these narratives, discussions about monetary assets prevail over the intrinsic value of nature.

Sure, even though we cannot really think like a tree, this project brings us closer to its story and the grand narrative of a changing climate. By making smart use of technology and its combining to the arts as a way to make the voice of the tree audible or visible, the project shows in an ingenious way, how we in our next nature are able to enact new narratives when it comes to climate change.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project.

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